Luckily, there are plenty of us writers who spend most of our time thinking about romance. We love sweet kisses, tender moments, and setting a sexy mood. I’ve gathered some of my favorite book moments here. Between all this shared experience, you can hopefully find inspiration for your own perfect date (that doesn’t involve last minute Hallmark cards).
1. Hit The Zoo. Everyone loves the zoo – everyone. It awakens a primal part of our brain that longs to be in touch with nature. It is also filled with adorable fluffy babies! By spending a day at the zoo ooh-ing and aah-ing over nature, you are allowing your date to see a softer side of yourself. It’s also great for forming ideas on exotic travel locations you can share together in the future. Win-win.
In my book What Might Be, there is a scene were the heroine, Nell, is taken to see some baby fox kits by her handsome neighbor, Alik. They watch the cute little kits frolic by the den, chewing and chomping on everything within their tiny fox reach. Over and over fans write in about how much they love this scene, because there is something so sweet and special about bonding together while watching baby animals. So go to a zoo; trust me on this!
2. Go Geocaching. Exploring and tracking down clues is a great way to spend a date. Bonus points is you pretend you’re Indiana Jones and wear a sexy fedora. Maybe bring a whip! Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure you enjoy a fabulous day of running around like teenagers again, pretending to be awesome spies.
The Ruins of Karzelek, where the intrepid treasure hunter Kalish takes a hot mercenary with her to search for alien treasure, inspired this cute date. As in the book, the sense of shared danger and excitement will light a fire for you real fast. Just try to find some treasure between make out sessions.
3.Share a secret family recipe. Cooking is always a fun date idea, but for Valentine’s Day you want to bump it up a notch. Pick a recipe that is important to your family and past, preferably something you haven’t shared with your girl before. Then, let her help you in the kitchen. Explain what you are doing, and why the recipe means so much to you. You’ll end up full of tasty food, and become emotionally closer.
This yummy date is inspired by Cupid’s Cupcake, where an aspiring baker named Belle must show off her secret family cupcake recipe to the handsome reporter Brian Draper. No spoilers, but I will tell you that sharing a sweet recipe can cause all kinds of good things to happen.
4. Do something you are afraid of. I know, at first that sounds like a horrible idea. “Augusta, I don’t want to dive with sharks on Valentine’s Day. I’ll just cry the whole time.” The thing is, you won’t cry. You will have your supportive date standing there, holding your hand and encouraging you. There is nothing more gratifying than realizing your partner is there no matter what, helping you surmount any obstacle. So go wild, do something you have been afraid to do alone: rock climb, bungee jump, or take a swing dance class.
This date was inspired by a bank robber, if you can believe that. In Holding on to You, the uptight control freak Maddy is kidnapped by sexy thief River. While they go on a wild run from the cops, Maddy learns that letting go and just enjoying herself can be the best thing in the world, with River by her side to protect her. I don’t recommend you do bank robbing as your ‘scary thing’, but doing something else daring is sure to make your girl fall in love a little bit more with you.
5. Interact with 3D art. A lot of people will suggest you go to an art gallery, which can certainly be fun. However, I suggest you pick somewhere where you can feel the art. Go to a park and run your hands over the sculptures, take a ceramics class, go buy play-doh – whatever works. The key is to not just look at the art, but to experience it together. Get your hands dirty, and use every sense as you play together. It is much more intimate and entertaining this way.
Ellis and Randall of Blind Man’s Wolf inspired this date. Ellis is a blind vampire that runs an art gallery, and being without sight means that he experiences art in a very different way. While you and your date might not have vampire powers (just guessing), exploring your other senses through art can still be a unique, memorable date. Plus, getting tactile on a date is never a bad thing, if you know what I mean…
6. Be strangers again. Go to a bar, pretend to have never met, and pick each other up all over again. The crappier the bar, and the dimmer the lights, the better it will be. Remember, the idea is to appreciate your partner as you did in the beginning. There are a thousand cute things about your man that you don’t notice in your day-to-day life, and this date is the cure! The sexy way he walks, how he adorably stumbles when he tries to flirt, all of those things you first loved will come back stronger than ever!
I got this idea while writing my book Lamp Riders, where the hot alpha genie Abdul meets his match when it comes to desert-raised Celia. In a dim, dingy bar they finally come together to slow dance, and it was one of my favorite scenes to write. There is nothing hotter than witty banter and closely dancing with a handsome stranger. So go out and meet your hottie all over again!
There you have it, six ideas to get you started. Now get out there and go celebrate love like you’ve never celebrated it before!